Tag Archives: food


I’m sick again — well, I don’t think I stopped being sick, but I had been feeling better but am now not feeling better. All this staying out late to see Madonna and working long days and such has kept me from healing, I guess.

Maybe I just need more vegetables in my diet. For dinner I made pasta with sauteed spinach and goat cheese, topped by fried eggs. I forgot to take a picture, so here’s someone else’s photo of baby spinach.

Baby spinach

Makes you feel healthier just looking at it, doesn’t it?

Today I also worked in bed, which was good and a bit less tiring than working at my desk. Tomorrow I’m heading out to Bakery Square for a Girl Develop It Pittsburgh workshop on version control with GitHub. No time like the present to get more serious about good process and version control, I say.

No rest for the weary, is there?

Oranges and olives

Today I did something I’ve avoided doing for years: I shopped at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company

Yes, it’s a famous Pittsburgh-area foodie destination; yes, they have all kinds of delicious things like amazing cheese and orgeat syrup and amazing olive oil and real Italian imported everything. It is indeed hard to fathom that one might not want to go there.

Here’s the thing: I really don’t like crowds. And the other thing I know about Penn Mac is that, on a Saturday, the crowd there is fierce. Continue reading Oranges and olives

Condiment wars

More details of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle
We had some delicious scrapple yesterday, courtesy of my mom.

The glory of the food was nearly overshadowed, though, by discussions of the toppings available to put on them.

First, catsup vs. ketchup. As it happens, Both terms are acceptable in general, but for unknown reasons some people find the “catsup” spelling not just wrong but offensive.

Let’s take a look at where the words come from. According to World Wide Words:

Ketchup was one of the earliest names given to this condiment, so spelled in Charles Lockyer’s book of 1711, An Account of the Trade in India: “Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China”. … The confusion about names started even before Charles Lockyer wrote about it, since there is an entry dated 1690 in the Dictionary of the Canting Crew which gives it as catchup, which is another Anglicisation of the original Eastern term. … There were lots of other spellings, too, of which catsup is the best known, a modification of catchup. You can blame Jonathan Swift for it if you like, since he used it first in 1730…”

Still not sure why people would be horrified that anyone would use the “catsup” spelling. Both are misspellings of an older Chinese word. Maybe we should return to that root?

Then, maple syrup vs. ketchup/catsup as a topping for scrapple: This division was a major one in my mother’s house when she was growing up. She preferred maple syrup — not an unusual choice, considering that many people enjoy syrup on sausage, and sausage is basically chunky scrapple. Her sister Bonnie thought this a bizarre choice, preferring catsup. (No word on which spelling she preferred.)

Live and let live, I say. Let us not fight over which condiments are the “right” ones. Rather, let’s sit down to table and enjoy both the food and each other’s company.

(Photo credit: More details of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, originally uploaded by anneh632.)


Oh, to be in Philadelphia this weekend! Specifically, to be in Reading Terminal on Saturday, for what will be a wondrous day of pork consumption: ScrappleFest!

From the Philadelphia City Paper:

Check out ScrappleFest this Sat., March 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to the public, the event is a celebration of Philly’s favorite “what exactly is in it?”-inspiring breakfast treat. (Read this to get the idea, novices.)

In addition to live tunes, scrapple-themed souvenirs and samples from the likes of Dietz & Watson, Hatfield, the Pennsylvania General Store (chocolate scrapple!) and the Fair Food Farmstand (the illustrious Vrapple), there’ll also be a recipe contest pitting RTM merchants against each other to see who’s got the strongest scrapple game. Judging the competition will be chef/author Aliza Green, Rx chef Greg Salisbury, Where magazine’s Laura Burkhardt and yours truly.

I adore scrapple. Dusted with flour, cooked on a hot pan, served with fried eggs and rye toast: my dream breakfast. And dream lunch or dinner.

Actually, the only scrapple my family eats is Habbersett brand; it has a particular combination of spices and a certain texture that is perfect. It’s not easy to get Habbersett’s on this side of the state, but we bring it back when we visit family and friends out east.

The lack of good scrapple in western PA has led me to consider trying to make it myself. I won’t be able to duplicate the Habbersett flavor exactly — or maybe with enough experimentation I will. I have a recipe from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook, and it doesn’t look too complicated. And of course I can choose the meats and ingredients I want to include, so the result will at least be of good quality.

I will report back on my results.

(Thanks to Uncle Crappy for pointing out the ScrappleFest to me. Or maybe no thanks, as now I’ll be consumed with jealousy of Philadelphians for a few days.)

UPDATE: Scrapple for dinner! Hooray for mom and her stash of Habbersett’s in the freezer.

A delicious pan of scrapple

Top photo credit: “30 days of pork – day 23” by mandydale

The Deadliest Pecan Pie in the South

Pecan pie

For Thanksgiving, I was a baking fool. I made bread (using the no-knead recipe I blogged a while back) plus a nice pecan pie.

For pecan pie, I use a recipe from Comfort Food by Holly Garrison. Mom gave me this cookbook years ago; it’s my go-to cookbook for really rich desserts and classic American recipes. It includes a great recipe for scones, the right ratio for ingredients in lemonade, the most outrageously rich chocolate cheesecake, and more.

Including the recipe for “The Deadliest Pecan Pie in the South.” Which I will share with you now:

The Deadliest Pecan Pie in the South

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (I use Julia Child’s tart crust recipe)
1 to 1.25 cups pecan halves (or more)
4 eggs
1 cup firmly packed, light-brown sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons good brandy or cognac
lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Scatter pecan halves in the bottom of the pie shell.

Beat egs, sugar, and syrup together in a medium bowl. Add butter and mix thoroughly. Stir in brandy. Slowly pour over pecans. Let stand until pecans rise to the surface. (The pecans will become beautifully glazed as the pie bakes.)

Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the center is nearly firm.

Cool pie on a wire rack.

Serve while still slightly warm, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

Or, invite me to dinner and ask me to bring dessert, and this is what I shall bring.

(Photo credit: Pecan pie, originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey.)

Eat, drink, share

No-knead bread

Quick thoughts:

1. The photo above is of a loaf of no-knead bread I made over the weekend. The recipe (from the New York Times, "No-Knead Bread") was as easy as promised. I didn’t give the bread quite enough time to cool, because I was running late, but my family gave it very high marks and there were only small bits and crumbs left after dinner. Will be trying a similar method with some of my favorite bread recipes soon.

2. It’s Mixology Monday, and the theme is "Made from Scratch." I’m not able to participate this week, due to being too busy but more importantly an ill-prepared person. Had I gotten my act together, I would be mixing up something that requires homemade maraschino cherries, because I’ll be fixing a big batch of those soon. In the meantime, please check out Pegu Blog’s excellent hosting and the many yummy and hand-crafted submissions.

3. Tomorrow is the Neighborhood Walk. Post something about where you live — with pictures or video audio or just vivid text — and share in the fun. And please invite others to do the same. Finally, tag your post with "neighborhoodwalk" to help everyone find everything.

(Photo credit: No-knead bread, originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey.)